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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Proofs for God's Non-existence
(hat tip to the internet infidels)

Several weeks ago now, sometime back near the beginning of September, I was reading a blog entry on the A-Team blog entitled, a plea for answers. The entry was highlighting a radio interview heard on a local LA talk radio station about a new documentary made by an anti-theist claiming there never was an historical, Jesus of Nazareth who founded Christianity. The blog exhorted Christians to be prepared with reasonable answers when interacting with skeptics and hostile unbelievers.

As an example on how not to argue, an off-site link was provided to a list of over 300 "proofs for the existence of God" found on an atheist website. The "proofs" are arranged as a set of propositions with the conclusion always stating, "Therefore, God exists." For example:

Cosmological Argument
(1) If I say something must have a cause, it has a cause.
(2) I say the universe must have a cause.
(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

The "proofs" are obviously designed to be a mockery against theism, particularly Bible believing Christianity. As I was looking over them, two things came to mind. First, they are helpful in noting how illogical Christians can be at times when arguing for their faith. Yet, on the other hand, they are also a prime example of how illogical atheists become when arguing for their alleged, non-faith.

The atheist website provides a good illustration of what I mean. Linking from the parody "proofs" is an article entitled Why Atheism? that actually attempts to engage in dismantling the classic theological arguments. The author begins his article listing the tools he uses in critiquing the theological arguments: logic and verifiable evidence. Even though the atheist discounts faith, especially Christian faith, he doesn't seems to recognize how any evidence must be interpreted and interpretations of evidence require faith commitments in the interpretations a person brings to the evidence. He then moves on to critiquing the theistic arguments, but his criticisms make claims against those arguments which requires a person to presuppose or assume the claims of the atheist with out question. In the end, the atheist is actually in the same boat as the theist he disdains when it comes to presenting his criticisms of theism.

I commented under the A-Team blog entry that if you re-word the propositions in the 300 proofs list just a tad, and always make the conclusion read "Therefore, God doesn't exist" a person can see the illogic of how atheists tend to argue, as well.

Interestingly, a few nights before the documentary maker was interviewed on this radio talk show, I heard the very same host rail against creationism and make the bold charge that no one in the entire realm of Hebrew scholarship has ever read the book of Genesis as literal history. The next day I sent him an email inquiring as to where he got his information. We exchanged emails a few times and by the end, he had never answered my initial question and refused to interact with me any longer. Amazingly, in his last email, he responded almost word for word with argument 14, the argument from intelligence, except all I had to do was replace the words "stupid Atheists" with "stupid Christians" and make my conclusion read, "Therefore, God doesn't exist." I snorted a big laugh when I read that. (Ironically, he links to the 300 Proofs list from his own home website).

I was going to attempt to re-write all of them and post my own list of "300 plus proof for the non-existence of God" as something of a lark. However, the arguments were simplistic and the list started to become repetitive and mundane, and even got a little nasty. Plus, I was getting bored reading over them all, so I abandoned the project. Maybe I will return to it someday.

Anyways, I thought I would post at least the first 20, and then some of my favorites, for a spot of fun. The original argument as it appears on the godless geeks website will be first, then I will put my response-re-write and mark it in blue.

(Addendum: I swear I didn't copy cat this person! Today, 10/7, I dropped over to Kerry Gilliard's blog, and noticed a link to a list of over three hundred disproofs of God's existence. Someone had the same idea as me. Go figure. I don't know who this J.H. person is who developed the list, but he or she is to be commended. Great minds must think a like, because many of J.H.'s proofs read like mine. Read mine, then enjoy the fuller list provided by J. H.)

1. TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT
(1) If reason exists then God exists.
(2) Reason exists.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT
(1) Reason and God cannot exist together.
(2) Reason exists.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

2. COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) If I say something must have a cause, it has a cause.
(2) I say the universe must have a cause.
(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) Who says something must have a cause?
(2) I say the universe didn't have a specific cause.
(3) Therefore, the universe has no cause.
(4) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

3. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) I define God to be X.
(2) Since I can conceive of X, X must exist.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) I define God to be X.
(2) Since I have never experienced X, X must not exist.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


4. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) I can conceive of a perfect God.
(2) One of the qualities of perfection is existence.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) I can't conceive of a perfect God.
(2) One of the qualities of perfection has to be existence.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

5. MODAL ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) God is either necessary or unnecessary.
(2) God is not unnecessary, therefore God must be necessary.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

MODAL ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) God is neither necessary or unnecessary.
(2) God is not necessary, therefore God must be unnecessary.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


6. TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) Check out the world/universe/giraffe. Isn't it complex?
(2) Only God could have made them so complex.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) Check out the world/universe/giraffe. You call that complex?
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


7. ARGUMENT FROM BEAUTY, aka TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) Isn't that baby/sunset/flower/tree beautiful?
(2) Only God could have made them so beautiful.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM BEAUTY, aka TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) Isn't that baby/sunset/flower/tree beautiful?
(2) There doesn't need to be a God to have made them so beautiful; besides beauty is relative.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


8. ARGUMENT FROM MIRACLES
(1) My aunt had cancer.
(2) The doctors gave her all these horrible treatments.
(3) My aunt prayed to God and now she doesn't have cancer.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM NON-MIRACLES
(1) My aunt had cancer.
(2) The doctors gave her all these horrible treatments.
(3) My aunt prayed to God and she wasn't cured from her cancer, despite the horrible treatments.
(4) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


9. MORAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) Person X, a well-known Atheist, was morally inferior to the rest of us.
(2) Therefore, God exists.


MORAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) Person X, a well-known Christian, was morally inferior to the rest of us.
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


10. MORAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) In my younger days I was a cursing, drinking, smoking, gambling, child-molesting, thieving, murdering, bed-wetting bastard.
(2) That all changed once I became religious.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

MORAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) In my younger days I was a church going, preacher loving, Bible thumping, tongue speaking, holy roller.
(2) That all changed when I became an atheist.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

11. ARGUMENT FROM CREATION
(1) If evolution is false, then creationism is true, and therefore God exists.
(2) Evolution can't be true, since I lack the mental capacity to understand it; moreover, to accept its truth would cause me to be
uncomfortable
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM EVOLUTION
(1) If evolution is true, then creationism is false, and therefore God doesn't exist.
(2) Evolution must be true, since I lack the moral desire to understand creationism, as well as represent the creationist viewpoint accurately; moreover, to accept its truth would cause me to be uncomfortable
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


12. ARGUMENT FROM FEAR
(1) If there is no God then we're all going to die.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM FEAR
(1) If there is no God then we're all going to die.
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

13. ARGUMENT FROM THE BIBLE
(1) [arbitrary passage from OT]
(2) [arbitrary passage from NT]
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM THE BIBLE
(1) [arbitrary passage taken out of context from OT]
(2) [arbitrary passage taken out of context from NT]
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

14. ARGUMENT FROM INTELLIGENCE
(1) Look, there's really no point in me trying to explain the whole thing to you stupid Atheists -- it's too complicated for you to understand. God exists whether you like it or not.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM INTELLIGENCE
(1) Look, there's really no point in me trying to explain the whole thing to you stupid Christians -- it's too complicated for you to understand. God doesn't exists whether you like it or not.
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

15. ARGUMENT FROM UNINTELLIGENCE
(1) Okay, I don't pretend to be as intelligent as you guys -- you're obviously very well read. But I read the Bible, and nothing you say can convince me that God does not exist. I feel him in my heart, and you can feel him too, if you'll just ask him into your life. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son into the world, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish from the earth." John 3:16.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM UNINTELLIGENCE
(1) Okay, I don't pretend to be as intelligent as you guys -- you're obviously very well read. But I read the Bible, and nothing you say can convince me that God exist. I've never felt him in my heart, and I bet you can't feel him either, I've asked him into my life dozens of times and nothing happened. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son into the world, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish from the earth?" John 3:16. Bah, nonsense!
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


16. ARGUMENT FROM BELIEF
(1) If God exists, then I should believe in Him.
(2) I believe in God.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM NON-BELIEF
(1) If God exists, then I should believe in Him.
(2) I don't believe in God.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

17. ARGUMENT FROM INTIMIDATION
(1) See this bonfire?
(2) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM INTIMIDATION
(1) See this bonfire? (or AK-47 for those in North Korea and China)
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

18. PARENTAL ARGUMENT
(1) My mommy and daddy told me that God exists.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

PARENTAL ARGUMENT
(1) My mommy and daddy told me that God doesn't exist.
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


19. ARGUMENT FROM NUMBERS
(1) Millions and millions of people believe in God.
(2) They can't all be wrong, can they?
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM NUMBERS
(1) Millions and millions of people don't believe in God, and some of them are intellectuals. (2) They can't all be wrong, can they?
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


20. ARGUMENT FROM ABSURDITY
(1) Maranathra!
(2) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM ABSURDITY
(1) Order from Chaos!
(2) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


25. ARGUMENT FROM INTERNET AUTHORITY
(1) There is a website that successfully argues for the existence of God.
(2) Here is the URL.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM INTERNET AUTHORITY
(1) There is a website that successfully argues against the existence of God.
(2) Here is the URL.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

36. ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION
(1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
(2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION
(1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
(2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
(3) If there was a God, he would have prevented it all.
(4) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


62. ARGUMENT FROM PERFECTION
(1) If there are absolute moral standards, then God exists.
(2) Atheists say that there are no absolute moral standards.
(3) But that's because they don't want to admit to being sinners.
(4) Therefore, there are absolute moral standards.
(5) Therefore, God exists.

(1) Atheists say that there are no absolute moral standards, even though they live life as if there are.
(2) If there are no absolute moral standards, even though reality says otherwise, then God can't exist.
(3) Therefore, atheists who don't believe in God are absolutely sure there are no absolute moral standards.
(4) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


77. PEACOCK ARGUMENT FROM SELECTIVE MEMORY
(1) [Christian asks "stumper" question.]
(2) [Atheist answers question.]
(3) [A lapse of time]
(4) [Christian repeats question.]
(5) [Atheist repeats answer.]
(6) [A lapse of time]
(7) [Christian repeats question.]
(8) [Atheist repeats answer.]
(9) [A lapse of time]
(10) Atheist, you never answered my question.
(11) Therefore, God exists.

PEACOCK ARGUMENT FROM SELECTIVE MEMORY
(1) [Atheist asks "stumper" question.]
(2) [Christian answers question.]
(3) [A lapse of time]
(4) [Atheist makes grandiloquent "truth" claim about how he perceives reality.]
(5) [Christian points out Atheist's unproven presupposition for such a claim.]
(6) [A lapse of time]
(7) [Atheist misconstrues a handful of biblical passages.]
(8) [Christian points out Atheist's error.]
(9) [A lapse of time]
(10) Christian, you never answer my questions.
(11) Therefore, God doesn't exist.


155. ARGUMENT FROM BRUTE FORCE
(1) [Christian tears Darwin Fish off car, breaks it in thirds, sticks it to driver's side window.]
(2) Therefore, the theory of evolution is wrong.
(3) Therefore, creationism is right.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

(1) [Atheist tears "truth" fish eating "Darwin" fish sticker off car (along with the "support our troops" ribbon) and threatens Christian with profanity.]
(2) Christian grabs his children and runs for his life.
(3) Therefore, Creationism is wrong.
(4) Therefore, evolution is right.
(5) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

202. ARGUMENT FROM APOLOGETICS WEBPAGES
(1) I was surfing the Net and came across this really cool webpage of apologetics.
(2) Their arguments were stunning. I couldn't refute them.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) I was surfing the Net and came across this really cool webpage of atheistic arguments.
(2) Their arguments were above my head and I couldn't refute them.
(3) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

334. ARGUMENT FROM SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (II)
(1) Answers in Genesis copied the full text of an article from Scientific American.
(2) Scientific American sent one email to Answers in Genesis saying that they don't necessarily want their articles distributed for free in [sic] the internet by just anyone.
(3) See? Scientific American persecutes Christians!
(4) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (II)
(1) Answers in Genesis copied the full text of an article from Scientific American
(2) Scientific American sent one email to Answers in Genesis saying they don't necessarily want their articles distributed for free on the internet by just anyone.
(3) Answers in Genesis points out that Scientific American is woefully ignorant of copyright and fair use laws and tells them to go educate themselves.
(4) See? Answers in Genesis are dishonest hypocrites
(5) Therefore, God doesn't exist.

5 Comments:

Blogger BlackCalvinist said...

J.P.'s a guy. LOL He's an old friend of mine and an apologist down in Florida. He's had 2 articles published in the Chrisitan Research Journal.

That being said, even as an old buddy, J.P. is mainly good for his evidentialism. He's off on Calvinism and both James White and Steve Hays have spent a few dozen posts (mostly Steve Hays) destroying his arguments for middle knowledge and corporate election.

5:54 AM, October 08, 2005  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Would that be JP Holding of Tektonics?

10:12 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I think it may be. I know J.P. is rather muddled, unfortunately, on the doctrines of grace. Some of his arguments are sad, and it is true Steve Hays and James White both did a good job of dismantling his arguments against Calvinism. Overall, however, he has a fairly good ministry that I have pointed people to and he is a good researcher.

Fred

5:23 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Kirby said...

I am going to remember the Peacock Argument from Selective Memory because it is SO TRUE. I had an argument on pen and paper with a coworker before the days of the Internet, and that is exactly how it went.

Thanks for this.

5:52 AM, April 04, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

I must say I find this article to be wholly disingenuous. I understand you state that you're having a "spot of fun," but you're not posing any kind of argument here or even poking fun at atheists because no atheist says these things. The list of 300 are shortened and extremely brief satirizations of actual arguments that have been posited by theists. Of course if you simply apply reverse language in the right places, the negative will sound just as absurd in the application of logic. But no atheist is ever positing the negative. You're not arguing anything here, you're just wasting your own time and unfairly distorting the facts for your audience, implying active fallacious arguments where there are none. The unfortunate part is, I cannot tell whether or not you actually know this.

2:16 AM, November 05, 2012  

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